Don't Let Your Finances Lurch When You Launch! A Handy Start-up Checklist for Bookkeeping

Don't Let Your Finances Lurch When You Launch! A Handy Start-up Checklist for Bookkeeping

Do you have a list of organizational priorities for your company’s finances? Or do you find the money side to be intimidating? Are you feeling overwhelmed? We’d like to help! Here are several recommendations to get you started:

Look before you leap. Make a budget or a forecast – This can be done in QuickBooks or in a simple spreadsheet.   As you reflect back on the past year, consider what you have been doing well and where your company needs work or should go in a new direction.  If you are operating without a budget or a forecast, how do you know when you are meeting benchmarks?

Accounting software – Find one that works for you and your business.  No need to “overbuy” that big QB desktop program if you don’t need 90 percent of the functions.  Check out QBO, Kashoo, Freshbooks or Xero cloud-based accounting programs if you like your accounting on-the-go.  Work directly from your phone or tablet when you go cloud-based. Is cloud accounting right for you?  Check out our free class that will review these products and more. and click on classes.

Payroll. OUTSOURCE IT if you are not into “bookkeeping” and you don’t know what a 941 is.  If you are a corporation, you will be required to take your pay through payroll. You will want to get set up with state Unemployment and EFTPS for automatic payments. Click here for SUTA guide -.

If you don’t want to do New Hire reporting , E-verify or IRA withdrawals, garnishments, etc., then please do not attempt to do your own payroll with some silly spreadsheet you found off the web.  You will be paying tax penalties for years. Payroll is not something to be taken lightly and can put you out of business before you even know what is going on!

 Accounts Receivable.  Receipt of payments sooner will give you better control over your cash flow and a clearer sense of your company’s finances. How will you collect your AR?  How long will you give your clients to pay? Net 30?  We recommend merchant services to get paid even faster. QuickBooks Merchant services works in the background with your QB product and integrates seamlessly and reduces the time you receive your payments.

Fraud control. What are your internal controls?  Are they working properly? Look for weak spots where the potential for fraud or errors runs high. Improving rules and regulations now can help reduce problems later this year.   Be aware of credit card charges and PayPal charges which can be easy ways for employees to steal.  Do you have cash controls? Do you sign employee’s timesheets or do you just “trust” them? 

 GAAP compliant.  Your company’s accounting practices need to follow GAAP rules and compliance –that is, Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. Now is the time to brush up on best practices and take your financials to the next level. Take a bookkeeping class and don’t just get your advice form “some dude” about required receipts. This is especially important if you plan to seek investment money or sell your business at some point in the future. To satisfy investors and/or buyers, you’ll need GAAP compliant financial records. Most of the accounting software today is GAAP compliant. Sorry to inform you that your excel spreadsheet is not. 

1099s – GET THAT W9 - Rushing through tax papers in January is a less-than-ideal way to start the new year. Instead, you should aim to keep up with the 1099 process throughout the year. The simplest approach is to collect W-9s (required for contractors who you pay more than $600 in a calendar year)  before you issue contractor payments, rather than trying to figure out who you need them from at the end of the year and have to chase down people who are likely preoccupied with the holidays.  The W-9 protects you the business owner from someone claiming that you should have put them on payroll or covered them under workers comp.

Pay Estimated taxes.  Contact your tax professional to find opportunities to minimize your taxes in the current year and don’t forget that you may have be required to pay quarterly taxes. Preparing tax estimates now will help prevent expensive surprises and penalties next year. Who has to pay? How do you know what to pay?  When do you pay?

 As always, feel free to call us to set up an appointment to review your bookkeeping needs! 423-668-6020

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